ICE Stalks Immigrant Parents at Detroit School

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The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has admitted that its agents in Detroit appear to have violated ICE policies when they targeted a school where immigrant parents were dropping off and picking up their children.

The ICE statement came after dozens of community leaders gathered outside the Hope of Detroit Academy, a public charter school in southwest Detroit, to demand that Detroit ICE director Rebecca Adducci hold agents accountable for targeting parents as they dropped children off at school last week, Detroit Latino reported.

“It is absolutely unacceptable for immigration agents to target parents at a school,” declared Democratic State Rep. Rashida Tlaib, at the protest. “These are hard-working members of our community, who are raising families, paying taxes, and rebuilding our neighborhoods house by house. The federal government should focus their limited resources on actual criminals, not terrorizing the parents of 7-year-old children.”

On the morning of Thursday, March 31, ICE agents stalked some parents from their homes to the school, Detroit Latino reported. Parents and children were trapped as a half a dozen ICE vehicles with tinted windows, surrounded the school, said Ryan Bates, director of the Alliance for Immigrant Rights and Reform Michigan. At least two parents were arrested after being subjected to random, warrantless stops outside the school, Bates said.

ICE’s policies explicitly prohibit this kind of search targeting schools and places of worship, except in extreme circumstances and with prior authorization from headquarters. “I found members of two families who were terrified, frightened out of their mind,” Bates said. One parent had a toddler with her.
“It’s clear that ICE is out of control,” Bates said. “Their outrageous actions at Hope of Detroit Academy are part of a pattern of often abusive and illegal activity.”

In the statement, reported by the Detroit Free Press, ICE Director of Public Affairs Brian Hale said the agency "is concerned by reports about the manner in which this operation was conducted, and is conducting an internal review of the facts surrounding it. Elements of the operation appear to have been inconsistent with policy and our standards and priorities.”

Officers with ICE “are required to follow a policy that prohibits operations near schools unless approved by headquarters or otherwise based on exigent circumstances,” Hale added. “It is not clear that this policy was appropriately followed in this matter. In addition, one of the targets may not have been within the agency’s stated enforcement priorities.”

Hale said that if their “internal review results in a finding that procedures were violated, appropriate steps will be taken. ICE will work closely with the local community to address any concerns arising from this matter.”